On April 1st, 2013, Gabriel Cordell, 42, embarked on a journey from sea to shining sea. From the Pacific to the Atlantic, the final destination will be his home town of West Hempstead, New York, where he will have rolled over 3,100 miles.
Gabriel Cordell (born Suheil Aghabi) was born in Tripoli, Libya in 1970. The Aghabi family would then migrate to the United States in January 1976, where they found their first home in New York.
Growing up on Long Island, Cordell attended Chestnut Street Elementary, West Hempstead Middle School, and high school where he played JV and Varsity football, while studying Karate for over 11 years. At the age of 13, he also began working in the family business as they ran a number of delis in the New York area.
In 1992, Cordell was on the way to his first professional audition when his life was for ever changed. Only a mile and a half away from home, another driver had failed to stop at a red light. Crashing into the driver’s side of his jeep, the vehicle flipped, ejecting him 6 feet into the air, where he hit a telephone pole with his back and crushed his spinal cord at the sixth thoracic vertebrate.
After 4 months of recovery and physical rehabilitation at the Rusk Institute at New York University, Cordell continued to pursue his dream of being an actor, now as a paraplegic.
Having landed numerous roles both on stage and screen, Cordell is now on a mission to be the first person to roll across the United States in a standard wheelchair. He will be the subject of a feature length documentary called, Roll With Me: A Journey Across America.
“I have always believed that my accident was an accident, but it wasn’t by accident.”
~ Gabriel Cordell